We call him Mark. Not that we know him personally but Mark Bittman is a character in our household kitchen drama. His How to Cook Everything (also available as an app) is one of only five cookbooks on the counter. "Are you using Mark?" is the frequent question when someone is busy cooking. And usually the answer is positive or at least Markish.
The family cooks have collectively loved him since following his restaurant recommendations in Vancouver six years ago. Spot on. Some of us went to Lucky Noodle and we all went to Vijay's, a still-savored meal. In my enthusiasm, I wrote to thank him using firstname.lastname@example.org as the address:
I'm somewhat dubious that this might ever reach you, Mark, but wanted to thank you, at least in the ether, for your recommendation of Vijay's, where I had dinner last Sat night with my family on our way back from Whistler. What a meal. Lamb popsicles, indeed. And your recommendation of the fenugreek cream curry -- wow! Thanks so much. Not a meal I would have wanted to miss...jessica
And he even responded!
From: "Mark Bittman" <email@example.com>
Date: March 29, 2006 10:51:37 AM EST
To: "'jessica lipnack'" <Jessica.Lipnack@netage.com>
Subject: RE: Vijay's -- Vancouver
Glad to hear it. mb
For 13 years and 700 continuous columns (are you listening, Guinness?), according to yesterday's NY Times, he's been writing The Minimalist column for the paper's Dining section. Now he's moving to a blog and to op-eds, where he'll be writing about "eaters rights," part of a new eater-advocacy movement? And he's doing a recipe column for the Sunday Times Magazine. A life well eaten, Mark. And, as a million have told you, your approach to simple cooking is liberating and your recipes are divine. Thanks for it all and sending tons of energy for your new blog.
Almost forgot: his last column has a fantastic sidebar with his 25 favorite dishes.